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viernes, 17 de julio de 2015

Jethro Tull - Benefit (1970)


Artista: Jethro Tull
Álbum: Benefit
Año: 1970
Género: Folk progresivo
Duración: 43:28
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. With You There To Help Me
2. Nothing To Say
3. Inside
4. Son
5. For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me
6. To Cry You A Song
7. A Time For Everything
8. Teacher
9. Play In Time
10. Sossity, You're A Woman

Alineación:
- Ian Anderson / flauta, guitarra acústica, voz
- Martin Barre / guitarra eléctrica
- Clive Bunker / batería, percusión
- Glenn Cornick / bajo
Invitado:
- John Evan / piano, órgano

Otra vez llega Carlos de Mendoza a traerles algo de su colección Jethrotulliana, ahora seguimos por el tercer disco, gran disco y poco conocido en comparación con la obra de la banda...


Benefit es el tercer álbum de la banda de rock Jethro Tull, que fue lanzado en 1970. Para la grabación del mismo, se unió a la banda el teclista John Evan. Si bien muchos lo sitúan entre los mejores discos de la banda, suele ser considerado inferior a los álbumes que lo rodean. Tras la grabación del mismo abandonaría la formación el bajista Glenn Cornick.
Wikipedia

Como comentario principal del disco, me parece muy apropiado el siguiente texto que copio y pego, apelando a mi habitual falta de creatividad ;) aunque mejor dicho culpa de mi poco tiempo disponible y mis ganas de seguir compartiéndoles buena música:

Benefit es el tercer disco de Jethro Tull, y el primero en añadir el piano de Evans al sonido de la banda, aunque en esos momentos todavía era simplemente un músico de sesión que en teoría solo había contratado el grupo para la grabación del álbum, aunque se acabó quedando como teclista oficial. También fue el último disco para Cornick, ya que después de este disco dejó el grupo.
Comparado con los dos últimos trabajos de la banda, Benefit tiene un sonido mucho más complejo, a veces usa efectos de estudio (la flauta invertida en “With You There to Help Me”, o el piano invertido y la guitarra con la velocidad aumentada en “Play In Time”), canciones de estructuras un poco más interesantes, cada tema contiene mucho más “multilayering” (más capas de instrumentos una encima de la otra en la misma canción) y más variedad en instrumentos en cada canción (si en Stand Up era casi siempre bajo, guitarra, flauta, voz, batería, en Benefit una canción puede contener dos guitarras eléctricas y órgano, otra podría ser piano, guitarra acústica y flauta, etc).
En general, si en Stand Up todavía se conservaba un poco del sonido blues/country de This Was, aquí el sonido es totalmente original y claramente Tulliano, esa exquisita mezcla de folk celta y rock. Otra diferencia de los dos discos anteriores es que en Benefit casi cada canción contiene el piano de John Evans, un instrumento no incluido en esos dos álbumes, y la verdad es que se agradece mucho que sea así, ya que le da un fantástico toque que acaba de completar el sonido del disco.
With You There to Help Me: Benefit empieza con este majestuoso tema, y ya desde el principio el oyente, mientras la flauta y el piano le dan la bienvenida, sabe que lo que está escuchando no se trata del Jethro Tull de antes. Una guitarra rítmica suena por la izquierda, los solos de Barre le atacan por la derecha... la música te envuelve totalmente, y no solamente es gracias al piano de Evans. Se nota que Ian Anderson se plantea la composición de canciones desde un nuevo punto de vista; la música da una sensación diferente a la de Stand Up, y con eso no quiero decir que sea ni mejor ni peor, solo diferente. Tiene más profundidad, se nota que Anderson estaba madurando como músico. En el tema se combinan fragmentos tranquilos de verso/estribillo muy melódicos, con duras batallas de solos entre la flauta y la guitarra. Es, en mi opinión, una de las mejores canciones de Benefit y una perfecta manera de empezar el álbum.
Nothing to Say: Después de el intenso final de “With You There to Help Me”, esta canción consiste de una tranquila y melancólica melodía de piano y guitarra acústica. Es interesante también el estribillo, ya que de repente el bajo y la guitarra eléctrica se acompañan el uno al otro en un viaje por una escala musical, que asciende hasta que, el oyente, convencido que eso explotará en un épico estribillo, se da cuenta de que toda esa tensión acumulada simplemente baja hasta abajo de la escala y la vuelve a subir otra vez, sin alcanzar ningún clímax musical, y finalmente vuelve a repetirse el melancólico verso de piano y guitarra acústica. Y, en mi opinión, ese estribillo es genial, no te deja con ganas de más; la simple acumulación de esa tensión es excitante y satisface totalmente al oyente.
La canción acaba con el mismo verso que al principio, pero ahora el piano y la guitarra acústica son acompañados por varios solos de guitarra eléctrica por encima, y una cascada de voces (todas de Ian Anderson) cantando “nothing to say...” una y otra vez hasta que la canción termina con un corto fragmento instrumental.
Alive and Well and Living In: Otra vez la canción empieza con el piano, esta vez tocando una especial mezcla de jazz y rock melancólico, que termina con una muy alegre melodía de piano y flauta, que precede a un estribillo bastante roquero, pero de melodía triste. La combinación de armonías alegres y tristes en “Alive and Well and Living In” es más difícil de explicar, se debe escuchar para entender.
Son: “Son” explota con unos duros acordes de guitarra eléctrica con efecto de distorsión y un tono agresivo, ya que Anderson imita a un padre hablándole a su hijo de forma muy autoritaria. Finalmente la guitarra eléctrica va desapareciendo y da paso a un tranquilo verso de guitarra acústica punteada y un tranquilo piano, un fragmento exageradamente diferente del anterior. Pero finalmente, sin avisar, los acordes distorsionados vuelven a aparecer, y acaban con un desmadre de solos de guitarra y piano, que acaban de golpe. Ciertamente, es una canción bastante rara, pero muy original. Añade ese punto de locura Tull al disco, y también un poco de sentido del humor. Y, claro, musicalmente sigue siendo buena, como (en mi opinión), todas las canciones de Benefit.
For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me: Después del extraño final de “Son”, esta acústica canción le da un descanso a las orejas del oyente. “For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me” consiste básicamente de un verso de guitarra acústica punteada y un estribillo de guitarra acústica tocando acordes. Suena mucho como si pudiera pertenecer a Stand Up, ya que en ese disco muchas de las canciones contienen mucha guitarra acústica también.
Los acordes son simples pero sigue siendo una canción muy bella, con un verso de tipo country rock, en el que Anderson canta con fuerza. Parece el tipo de estribillo que provocaría que toda la sala se pusiera a cantar al unísono si se tocara en directo.
To Cry You a Song: En mi opinión, uno de los momentos más interesantes del disco. Dos guitarras eléctricas y el bajo tocan tres melodías diferentes, una encima de la otra, y la combinación es perfecta, genialidad musical. Incluso cuando más tarde tocan acordes, las dos guitarras tocan acordes diferentes que quedan perfectos uno encima del otro. Un ejemplo muy claro de esto es el trozo que aparece justo después del estribillo, justo después de que Anderson cante “Well I’m a glad bird, I’ve got changes to ring”. La canción también presenta muchos trozos instrumentales con solos de Martin Barre, como la mayoría de los temas. Es una canción muy buena, pero tal vez un poco demasiado larga para las pocas variaciones musicales que presenta.
A Time for Everything?: El verso de “A Time for Everything?” es tranquilo, pero se podría decir que sigue siendo rock, pero mezcla influencias del rock americano de esos años con flauta. Lo interesante de esta canción es el estribillo, ya que es un estribillo sin voz, la melodía principal es tocada por la flauta, y suena como una mezcla de música medieval con el antes mencionado rock.
Inside: “Inside” es muy agradable, una corta canción que transmite tranquilidad, la banda sonora perfecta para un día soleado vacío de preocupaciones. La verdad es que no se puede decir mucho más de “Inside”, pero no penséis que por eso es peor; a mi personalmente me gusta mucho, es solo que una canción tan sencilla se disfruta escuchando, y no se puede describir porque no hay mucho que describir.
Play in Time: Un triunfal riff de flauta abre este tema, un riff que suena como un circo con ganas de venganza desfilando por la calle. El órgano eléctrico que entra con la voz ayuda a mantener esta extraña imagen. La música consigue perfectamente acompañar la letra, ya que en “Play in Time” Anderson se venga de todo el mundo que le ha criticado por abandonar el blues, crítica a la cual él responde con letras que equivalen a decir “no tenéis derecho a decirme qué debo tocar”, y ácidos solos de flauta que dicen lo mismo, pero en lenguaje musical. Melodías de piano con un efecto que las hace sonar del revés añaden a la sensación de burla y locura.
Sossity; You’re a Woman: Definitivamente otra de las mejores canciones del disco, una épica balada acústica, de complejos punteados a dos guitarras, voz, flauta, órgano y pandereta. Una absolutamente perfecta manera de finalizar el álbum, “Sossity” es una canción melancólica pero sin ser triste, una muestra de la genialidad de Anderson escribiendo canciones a guitarra acústica. Y diría que esa genialidad existe porque al escribir, Anderson no se limita a seguir un solo estilo musical. Combina todas sus inspiraciones musicales (música clásica, folk, música étnica de diferentes países, blues, jazz, rock, etc), e incluso así no se limita a solo esos estilos; escribe cualquier cosa que le parezca buena, aunque no se pueda definir con etiquetas. Dos años más tarde eso lo comprobaremos, en Thick as a Brick, que realmente demuestra lo elástico que puede ser como compositor.
Para acabar esta reseña, debo decir que, aunque yo no haya oído demasiados discos de Jethro Tull (solo los cinco primeros, y “Songs From the Wood”), creo que Benefit es un álbum importante ya que, creo, marca el inicio del sonido Tull “completo”. En mi opinión Stand Up también es un fantástico disco de puro Jethro Tull, e incluso podríamos decir que This Was presenta algunas canciones que suenan mucho como lo que el grupo sería más tarde, pero en Benefit, con la inclusión del piano, Jethro Tull se acaba de completar, y empieza el sonido Tull que, aunque a lo largo de los años irá evolucionando, se mantiene en la base de todos los discos posteriores. Podría decir que es uno de los discos esenciales del Tull de la primera época, pero la verdad es que el grupo produjo una cadena de “discazos” durante esos años, y escoger uno sería difícil. Sí puedo decir, pero, que al encontrarse justo al lado de un éxito comercial como Aqualung, parece como si Benefit hubiera sido olvidado, y creo que realmente es un trabajo que debe ser escuchado.
Grimble

Aprovecho para subir también las notas traducidas que vienen en el libreto de la edición remasterizada en CD del 2001, y escrita por el puño del propio Ian Anderson:

Luego de nuestro primer año de giras en los Estados Unidos, regresamos a casa cansados, excitados y sobrecogidos por las experiencias musicales y culturales que nos embistieron durante unas 30 semanas de conciertos y apariciones en la radio en ese gran y a veces intimidante país.
Los diversos estilos musicales del álbum anterior, Stand Up (levántate), abrieron el camino a un sentimiento más duro, ligeramente más oscuro en mis composiciones, quizás con un creciente cinismo debido a mi distanciamiento de la industria musical y de las presiones comerciales que venían de las compañías discográficas.
Algunas de estas canciones reflejan (cuando miro hacia atrás ahora, treinta y dos años después) un sentido de alienación y un creciente deseo por un hogar estable al cual regresar de mis viajes.
La música de las otras bandas con las que tocamos no tuvieron una gran influencia, de hecho, luego de varios conciertos con Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater, Blood Sweat And Tears y aún un par con los prototipos del punk, los MC5, terminaba alejándome a escribir la música que quería, como yo lo sentía, que tenía un sonido contrario y diferente al americano, comparados a otros grupos de Inglaterra que a menudo emulaban a sus héroes musicales americanos.
En retrospectiva, probablemente era la falta de ese estilo americano en nuestra música la que cimentó nuestro éxito inicial con las audiencias. Al menos no seguíamos los pasos de las bandas hippies de la Costa Oeste o de hard rock del Oeste Medio.
John Evan entró en la banda, teclista de la John Evan Band a partir de la cual Tull se metamorfoseó unos dos años atrás, y el resultante espesamiento de las texturas musicales permitió al guitarrista Martin Barre enfocarse más en los riffs monofónicos y en los solos, en vez que preocuparse de explotar acordes la mayor parte del tiempo. John dejó bien en claro que sólo trabajaría con nosotros por un año o dos a lo sumo, pero con la atracción de los viajes, las chicas bonitas, las pipas, las borracheras y los Porsches lo mantuvieron con nosotros por los siguientes diez años.
La experiencia de John lo hizo ideal para los saqueos de Tull por el resto de los setentas y su representación en el escenario a lo "más grande de la vida", tan diferente a su conducta privada, se llegaría a convertir en un factor fundamental al establecer la presencia en vivo de Jethro Tull como una experiencia ligeramente teatral y excéntrica.
Lamentablemente, este llegaría a ser el tercer y último álbum de Glenn Cornick con el grupo. El se había alejado del resto de nosotros, siendo un loco por las fiestas a diferencia del resto de sus compañeros que disfrutaban de leer libros y de ir temprano a su cama y había llegado la hora de partir. Su próximo proyecto, Wild Turkey, gozó de un merecido suceso para Glenn y sus colegas y fuimos felices tenerlos juntos en muchos de nuestros conciertos posteriores.
Es apropiado, entonces, que dediquemos esta versión remasterizada de Benefit a Glenn y John por sus roles en ayudar a establecer esta fase de la historia Tull.
Aunque Teacher (Maestro), Just Trying To Be (Sólo Trato de Ser) y The Witch's Promise (La Promesa de la Bruja) no estaban incluidas en el álbum original, aparecen aqui como primos hermanos del resto de los temas (siendo grabados unas pocas semanas antes) y ¡deben estar puesto que realzan los anteriores temas de alguna forma!
Las giras siguientes para promover este álbum a través de muchos países fueron el tiempo perfecto para que me escondiese en salas de vestuario y moteles baratos (algunas cosas nunca cambian) y esperar los primeros revuelos de las ideas musicales para el próximo disco - ¡el que sería el más grande!
Ian Anderson - Agosto 2001


A continuación algunos (sólo algunos) comentarios sobre el disco, y en inglés, si quieren pueden buscar más, pero si les gusta la onda Jethro Tull no pierdan tiempo, llévense el disco y escriban su propio comentario...

Benefit was the album on which the Jethro Tull sound solidified around folk music, abandoning blues entirely. Beginning with the opening number, "With You There to Help Me," Anderson adopts his now-familiar, slightly mournful folksinger/sage persona, with a rather sardonic outlook on life and the world; his acoustic guitar carries the melody, joined by Martin Barre's electric instrument for the crescendos. This would be the model for much of the material on Aqualung and especially Thick as a Brick, although the acoustic/electric pairing would be executed more effectively on those albums. Here the acoustic and electric instruments are merged somewhat better than they were on Stand Up (on which it sometimes seemed like Barre's solos were being played in a wholly different venue), and as needed, the electric guitars carry the melodies better than on previous albums. Most of the songs on Benefit display pleasant, delectably folk-like melodies attached to downbeat, slightly gloomy, but dazzlingly complex lyrics, with Barre's guitar adding enough wattage to keep the hard rock listeners very interested. "To Cry You a Song," "Son," and "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" all defined Tull's future sound: Barre's amp cranked up to ten (especially on "Son"), coming in above Anderson's acoustic strumming, a few unexpected changes in tempo, and Anderson spouting lyrics filled with dense, seemingly profound imagery and statements. As on Stand Up, the group was still officially a quartet, with future member John Evan (whose John Evan Band had become the nucleus of Jethro Tull two years before) appearing as a guest on keyboards; his classical training proved essential to the expanding of the group's sound on the three albums to come. Benefit was reissued in a remastered edition with bonus tracks at the end of 2001, which greatly improved the clarity of the playing and the richness of the sound; the four additional tracks are "Singing All Day," "Witch's Promise," the elegant, gossamer-textured "Just Trying to Be," and the original U.K. mix of "Teacher." Written and recorded prior to Benefit, they're all lighter in mood than the material from the original album, adding some greater variety but fitting in perfectly on a stylistic level.
Bruce Eder

This 1970 release, the band's third album, is the first of the early Tull recordings that, to my taste, merits a 5-star rating. By this time, the group's sound had jelled into what most fans would say typifies classic Tull: less blues-rooted than its (excellent) predecessor, with Anderson's unique flute and Martin Barre's hard-edged guitar to the fore. There's not a single weak track, and the absolutely essential "Inside" and "Teacher" (one of my all-time favourite Tull songs) appear here.
This disc is a must for followers of the early Jethro Tull!
Peter

The beneficiary of a rich sonic contrast that brought elements of light (acoustic guitar, John EVAN's piano) and dark (Martin BARRE's guitars) into the mix. "Benefit" is a noisier, heavier record than anything the band had done to date and a harbinger of what would follow ("Aqualung" et al). Where Stand Up played up the band's acoustic side and thus had a bluesy gentility to it, "Benefit" bares its teeth in the distorted, drenched electric end of the musical spectrum. IAN ANDERSON had already shown a penchant for animalism in his flute solos; now taking a wider berth behind the boards, he was able to carry that style over to the other instruments, notably for the electric guitars. The folk sensibilities remain, but they're subordinated to rock riffs that suggest LED ZEPPELIN on a lighter scale, especially on the riff-driven "To Cry You A Song" and "With You There To Help Me". To the dismay of some, ANDERSON was also growing more indulgent in his lyric delivery, dripping with disdain on "Son", "Nothing To Say" and "Play In Time". In many ways he was becoming the FRANK ZAPPA of folk/rock, creating intricately knotted ribbons of music on which to hang his effigies. As a result, the pockets of youthful optimism ("Inside", "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me") now sound disingenuous and out of place, the first casualties of the new TULL. To balance the darkness, ANDERSON would come to rely on humor to rise above the fray he'd made; "Teacher" (with its clockwork precision) is part of a select company of TULL songs that pokes fun at philosophizing ("Fat Man", "Thick As A Brick edit #1") for example. The album ends with the didactic, delicious "Sossity; You're A Woman", an acoustic wonder that holds its own with the best of them (including the first half of "Stairway To Heaven").
"Benefit" affords the listener their choice of the hot sun or cool shade; that is, without the inhospitable heat of a bright concept hanging over their heads. Some saw it as the end of the line, others the beginning, making it one of the few TULL albums most fans can agree to enjoy.
Dave Connolly

I've been always having a difficult time trying to review this album. Ten years ago (1992-93) I was in my JETHRO TULL phase, and I was often letting people know my likings for these guys. Ten years later, it turns out that "Benefit" remains one of my favorites. I find this album a more mature offering than "Stand Up", and the sound quality is definately much better. Yes, it's a more difficult album to get in to than its predecessor, that's why "Benefit" had received its share of criticisms. New member John Even provides piano and organ, making it easier for the keyboard parts (after all, the piano and organ on "Stand Up" was from ANDERSON himself), although he was credited as an official member yet. My favorite cuts include "With You There To Help Me", "Nothing to Say", "Inside", "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, and Me", "Play in Time", and strangely, I also like the acoustic "Sossity, You're a Woman".
Many of the songs on this album point towards the direction of "Aqualung" (like "Nothing to Say"), especially from Martin Barre's guitar work. Also only half the songs features ANDERSON's flute work. The reason was that ANDERSON wanted to demonstrated that the band could still float without his flute on some of the cuts, and it works. In fact, on side one, only "With You There To Help Me" and "Inside" features his flute. As for "Teacher", the hit on the album, apparently it only appeared on the American version, and "Alive and Well and Living In" was on the British version ("Teacher" was released as a single there - the flip side being "Witches Promise", you get to hear all these songs, as well as "Alive and Well and Living In" on the double album set "Living in the Past"). "Benefit" sure makes me wish it was 1970 again (even though I wasn't alive in '70). Great stuff.
Ben Miler

A new decade had started and Jethro Tull's evolution was almost defined, the blues oriented "This Was" and the still jazzy but more eclectic "Stand Up" were left in the past, the band had found the progressive folk sound that was going to be their trademark until today.
Ian is perfect with his characteristic vocals and unique flute but the most important feature is the way he blends the soft acoustic guitar with Martin Barre's electric and aggressive instrument, creating a mixture between the countryside and the city that gently merge into the same atmosphere, simply perfect and totally different to the previous albums where acoustic and electric guitar seemed to be playing different melodies.
Also important is the addition of a powerful pianist as John Evan who's style is much more technical than David Palmer. It's important to notice that John Evan had already played with Ian Anderson in The Blades and John Evan Band, so it was easier for them to join again in Jethro Tull.
Not in the level of Aqualung or Thick as a Brick but Benefit is a well balanced album with no fillers that includes some masterpieces and tracks that will be part of Jethro Tull's repertoire in later gigs. my favorites from this album are:
"With You There to Help Me": This is the song that would introduce me to the Jethro Tull's world, still can remember the impression that made on me the contrast between the acute flute, Ian's low vocal tone and Barre's breathtaking chords. Some drastic changes that are softened by the characteristic flute make of this song an underrated classic.
"Nothing to Say": The electric guitar introduction leads immediately to Ian's voice, a track that advances step by step to a peaceful development when the listener is expecting something more aggressive, but the beauty of the song is precisely that contradiction.
To Cry You a Song": Another track that became a classic in Tull's concerts, probably the most eclectic song, folksy and soft but with some echoes of their blues past that suddenly changes with a frenetic guitar solo that is a pleasure for those who love the harder edge of Tull.
"Teacher": A very beautiful song where Ian's voice and Glen Cornick's bass make the difference along with the psychedelic keyboards and ultra fast flute, a true masterpiece.
"Sossity, You're a Woman" is the perfect closer a song which proves that Jethro Tull has also a classical side, the acoustic guitar soft but complex is simply delightful and the melodic flute that blends with the tune completes the scene.
Not yet the peak of Jethro Tull's creativity but already fantastic Benefit is a very solid album that deserves a special place in every collection. I know that other releases are more mature.
Iván Melgar

I`m not a fan of Jethro Tull, because I don`t like very much the "one-man bands", I mean, the "owner of the name-composer-producer-boss and his musicians-employees", which is what Jethro Tull is for me. I only have listened to some of their albums (a long time ago to: "Stand Up", "Thick as a Brick", "A Passion Play" (I remember that it is a good album), "War Child", "Too old to rock and roll...", "Songs fom the Wood", all of them because someone lent them to my older brothers) and I only have 3 of their albums: "Benefit" and "Aqualung" (recorded in a cassette from two of my brothers` record collections) and "A" (which I bought because I liked the band called "UK" and because former UK member Eddie Jobson appeared in this album as guest). This album "Benefit" is very good, better than "Aqualung", in my opinion. Is more a "Rock" album than a "Folk- Rock" album as there are a lot of guitars and drums. In this album, Ian Anderson wasn`t the only original member of the band so this is stiill more "an album made by a band called Jethro Tull", with a very good line-up and with very good guitars by Martin Barre (who was recording his second album with the band). My favourite songs from this album are: "With you there to help me", "Nothing to say", "To cry you a song" (with a melody which sounds similar to Bach`s music, I think; the best song of this album and the most Progressive), "A Time for Everything" and "Teacher". I also like the cover design: it was a very original idea for a cover.
Guillermo Vázquez Malagamba

While being a hugely succesful effort on its own, Benefit is slightly inconsistent, and weaker as a whole than Stand Up, if you don't mind me saying so. Nevertheless, it could be argued that this is where Anderson finally found the "classic" Tull sound, and the album is ultimately a bit less blues-oriented. This album has a few of my all time favorite tunes, namely "With You There To Help Me", "Nothing To Say" and "Teacher". That said, some of the songs are a bit forgettable -- it's been a while since I listened to this album, and I can't remember how the melody of "Play In Time" goes. The album is smoother than their earlier works (has a natural flow), and it sounds more professional, but at the same time, I miss the energy of Stand Up and the raw enthusiasm of This Was. A fine collection of songs, this one, and a safe bet for anyone wanting to look into Tull, but possibly not as essential as their future works would turn out to be.
Toni

In Benefit Jethro Tull went to a harder and darker feel with a growing cynism in Ian's song- writing. The band is now joined by Mr John Evan, the keyboard player from that John evan Band from which Tull had metamorphosed two years previously. he made it clear he would only work with JT for a year or two a the most, but he remained (thanks God) for the next ten years. Sadly Benefit it's the last for Glenn Cornick, gone to form Wild Turkey. The best songs in my opinion are With You There To Help Me (with the famous back-played flute intro), To Cry You A Song (of which there's a great cover performed by Hughes in the tribute album Magna Charta-A Collection Of Tull Tales) and the powerful Nothing To Say. In the Chrysalis 2001 remastered edition are found the excellent 1970 singles Teacher and the acoustic The Witch's Promise coupled with the nice Just trying To Be and Singing All Day.
A great album, but not one to start with... It's better Stand up as a beginning... anyway 4 stars are the right pay to Ian Anderson and company!!
Andrea Cortese

As Ian Anderson wanted the music of Tull had somewhat less blues influenced, the band did prove it through their follow-up album "Stand Up" (1969) which I already reviewed in this site couple of months ago. "Benefit", the band third album released in 1970, confirmed the band departure from blues to their own Jethro Tull Sound combining the heavy use of flute and acoustic guitar as rhythm section which anchored their music into what people mentioned later as progressive folk music. Even though it's hard to deny that there is a bit influence of blues in this album - as was the case with many classic rock music released during late sixties and early seventies. By the time this album was released there was no such term as progressive as a commonly used language by music critics at the time. Just to put things into perspective, by the time this album was released, The Beatles released "Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band" three years in advance (1967), King Crimson was releasing their second album "In The Wake of Poseidon" after the success of debut album "In The Court of The Crimson King" (1969) which most people reckon as the birth of prog rock. Genesis was releasing their second album "Trespass" and Yes "Close To The Edge" was not born yet. Looking at this perspective it's quite clear the "Benefit" has its own standing in their musical style.
The album kicks off with ambient flute work in "With You There To Help Me" followed with floating vocal line and rhythm section. The music style is a blues-rock with hard edged guitar work (melody) by Martin Barre. The flute demonstrates its role during short interlude. It's a warm opening track. Acoustic guitar plays as rhythm section and strengthens the "folk" image of the band's music. But if we observe the music in great detail, I can confirm that structurally and style-wise this track is a prog rock. "Nothing To Say" (please do not confuse with other Tull's track "Nothing's Easy") has a mellower in style but maintaining the floating singing style of Ian which later become his trademark. Very cool and very enjoyable - Martin Barre's soft riffs are stunning. "Alive And Well And Living In" continues the music with a styke that has become Tull's sound as you can find this with even later album of Tull like "Heavy Horses". Next tracks "Son" and "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me" are excellent tracks as well with the latter uses acoustic guitar fills as main rhythm section.
The best favorite track out of this album is probably "To Cry You a Song" which also became a title of tribute album released by Magna Carta (see my review in this site under Various Artists). This song forms its style in heavy rock with soft guitar riffs as main rhythm section with dry singing style by Anderson. It's melodically very strong and it has a good composition with excellent variations of electric guitar work. I can hardly hear flute sound in this track but still this one still represents great Jethro Tull Sound! You can also enjoy the tribute version in To Cry You A Song performed by Glenn Hughes (formerly with Deep Purple). "A Time Foe Everything?" brings the flute back into music but Martin Barre's guitar is still dominating the music.
"Inside" has a different style than its previous tracks whereby flute is now floating, accompanying Ian's singing. It's really cool having this track presented after relatively rocking track. "Play In Time" bring the music into upbeat tempo with aggressive flute playing style and energetic singing augmented with soft guitar riffs - unique to Jethro Tull's music. The intertwining sounds of guitar and flute is stunning. "Sossity: You're A Woman" concludes the album with a mellow nuance with great acoustic guitar fills as main rhythm section accompanying voice line. This drum-less track is really powerful. As usual, flute provides great inserts throughout the song.
Overall, it's an excellent album with tight composition, powerful songwriting and flawless performance. This album has put a strong foundation for the future of Jethro Tull's music. Highly recommended.
Gatot Widayanto

I made an unofficial research and discovered that Jethro Tull had their work released in Brazil before other giants like Pink Floyd, King Crimson and even Moody Blues... probably they were the first prog-band heard in this part of the World!
Reasons, well, I listed 2: first, their association with Rolling Stones through the Rock and Roll Circus - since Beatles were disbanded, the Stones were in the crest of the wave; second, they were considered initially a hard-rock or acid-rock band in the same line of Sabbath, Led or Deep Purple and these guys were a kind of fever here by 1970/1971.
The fact is that JT really benefited from these events and got an extreme popularity in Terra Brasilis that I guess that in the prog-scene they lose only for Pink Floyd and the difference is tiny. Ian Anderson is a usual visitor alone or with the band and he is an easy figure on our TV even going to talk-shows and similar stuffs. Also JT had a good start because while "Benefit" was their third work was truly their first prog piece and the first to be released here; new fans received more than they asked for!
And the album itself? A good one, well above the average. For a listener back in the 70s some sounds should have seem quaint, also the flute, the guitar riffs, the arrangements, certain tunes and passages, the singing act; the progressive ears were being educated.
Songs flow smoothly and even the weaker tracks run accordingly; opening track, 'With you there to help me' is one of the album highest points but there's that marvelous flute in the best track 'Inside' or the pleasant 'Sossity', 'Nothing to say' and 'Son'. A landmark and an excellent addition for a music collection
Guigo Atkingani

This album has received a lot of glowing reviews, almost invariably from people who say it's just as good as STAND UP and nearly as good as AQUALUNG. So let me add my halfpennyworth.
I simply love BENEFIT, and I believe there is not a single weak song on the entire album. Tracks like 'With you there to help me', 'Nothing to say', 'To cry you a Song' and 'Sossity; you're a woman' are as charming and tuneful as anything Jethro Tull have ever done. If the album has remained underexposed in Tull live shows or on compilation albums, there are several possible reasons I can think of. (1) Strange to say, none of the heavier tracks included have attained the (semi-)classic status of 'A new day yesterday', 'Locomotive breath' etc. (2) The album was recorded during a grim period in Ian Anderson's life. I enjoy the way he sings its mournful melodies, but apparently he was not yet capable of writing irresistibly jolly tunes like 'Mother Goose', or deeply felt acoustic songs like 'Wond'ring aloud'. (3) On many of the tracks, lead guitarist Martin Barre performs a surprisingly prominent role. (With double-tracked wah-wah solos and all!) BENEFIT is Martin's album as much as anyone's - something I find highly refreshing, since Martin was still using an old-fashioned blues-rock idiom. This doesn't mean BENEFIT is a guitars-only album: John Evan's keyboard contributions are tasteful and unforgettable.
Every Jethro Tull fan should have a copy of this album, which is far more enjoyable than the turgid THICK AS A BRICK. It's now available with four bonus tracks, all of them superb. For me, BENEFIT firmly belongs to the top five of Tull albums.
Fuxi

"Benefit" had been the last album by JT with Glenn Cornick on board and the first one with John Evans adding a new dimension to the band's sound with his piano and organ play. It might stand a bit in the shadow of its brilliant follow-up "Aqualung" and the very good previous one "Stand Up" but I wouldn't consider it that much inferior to those ones. This album has an overall darker and more hard-edged sound compared to its follow-up fitting quite well to my taste preferences and of course there aren't such staple hits here like "Aqualung" or "Locomotive Breath". The next one certainly would feature more elaborate lyrical work by Anderson and more of nice acoustic ballads but here we have just strong more powerful tracks instead. They started here as well experimenting with some production techniques like the backwards recorded flute on "With You There To Help Me" which would become a regular joke on stage by Anderson as he turned his back to the audience to play the opening notes. Two facts might be worth mentioning that is first the lyrics "flying so high" in "To Cry You a Song" which seamed to confirm the rumor that Anderson was a junkie what never been the case of course. The second one is the line "blues were my favourite colour until I looked 'round and found another song that I felt like singing" in "Play In Time" which had been a direct message by him to his critics supporting their earlier blues-orientated approach. "Teacher" became very popular in the US though the band considered it rather a throwaway song. Therefore it might have been put only as bonus in its original version featuring less flute on the CD reissue. We get the excellent track "Alive And Well And Living In" dominated by Evans' piano play instead. Other highlights are "Nothing To Say", "Inside", "For Michael Collins", "To Cry You A Song", "Play In Time" and the more acoustic one "Sossity, You're A Woman" but as said already there's not any flaw on here. Recommended as an essential Prog addition!!
Dieter Fischer

Having gotten this as a Christmas gift, it has been a good 25 years since I've listened to it and I must admit every song came back to me instantaeously. Right from the start, "With You There To Help Me" it has that early bluesy Tull sound, but Barre's guitar is gutsy and jazzy at the same time. Bunker bashes the heck out of his drums throughout and Anderson's voice changes from song to song, raspy at times, hushed other and soars if needed. I can honestly say that this almost matches the classic Aqualung song for song. The only track that bogs down the disc is the last. It's not bad, but lyrically I'm not loving it, (I do believe Mr Anderson is one of the greatest lyricists ever). What I really care about this album is the darkness and cynicism. According to Ian's writing inside the CD sleeve for the re-mastered edition, they came back to England following an exhausting US tour for "Stand Up" tired and a bit ornery. There's not too many dark Tull album's, maybe "A Passion Play" but for the most part this one is darker. Now, how to judge it. From a progressive perspective, it's a three. From a hard rock perspective with a bit of English blues and pub boggie it's a hands down fiver. Going for the middle ground, and seeing as it's more adult brother comes next I'll give it a solid four stars. A must have early Tull album for those who played the more classic ones to death...give it a go!
Ray Rappisi jr

Benefit is the real start of the Tull's great history (IMO). I could not quite appreciate their first two albums but this one is somewhat different. I remember passing by the same record shop for months around my school in 1973. They still displayed this LP sleeve (as well as most of the Genesis ones of the era) and maybe therefore, this album will always have a special place in my collection.
The opener "With You There to Help Me" is a fabulous song : hard rockind, great flute and wonderful guitar. Somehow complex : it is one of my fave and a highlight. "Nothing to Say" is a harmonious song : strong backing work from the band (bass and drumming) although the master's voice is dominent and noticeably trying (and achieving) to articulate as much as possible to ensure listeners understands what he says. Another great 5'14" piece of music (and the second highlight).
"Alive and Well and Living In" is a short but well balanced song : rocking / fluting / melody-ing (?). Not at all a weak track. The instrumentals here are very good. The band is really coping well together here.
"Son" is a weird song made of two parts (easily noticeable). The first one being somewhat hard rocky is right in tune with the first two songs. The second section, although it started folky, finishes like it started : a good Tull rocking tune. The end of the song though seems to be cut. Strange structure.
"For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" starts like a mellow folk song. But with "Benefit" it must have been agreed that no song would be totally folk, so the track will balance between folk and rock. Not too bad.
The vocals for "To Cry You a Song" are quite bizarre. I am not really found of the "special" effects added here. The track though is great : hard rocking at times with great musicianship from Barre. I really would have liked to get the normal Ian's voice format to fully appreciate this song. Great bass playing again by Glenn Cornick.
"A Time for Everything" is again a good song. Same singing work from Ian than in "Nothing to Say". Abrupt end like in "Son". As the album flows, one has to acknowlege that there are no weak track on here. Barre's influence is huge : "Inside" could have been a folky/mellow tune but thanks to his input it turned to be a good rocking song. "Play In Time" really shows how powerful the band can be (even in a studio work). "Sossity" is the sole whole acoustic number. Maybe it is good to rest a bit after such a rocking album !
Four bonus tracks on the remastered edition : "Singing All Day" is a great song with very good keys and bass (again). Fluting is quite melodious. "Witch's Promise" is another track which could have easily fit on the album. Rocking but aerial. Tull. These two bonus tracks are also released on their compilation effort "Living In The Past". Absolutely no fillers. It is no the same with "Just Trying To Be" : quite average track (but it is the first one so far...) "Teacher" is almost a heavy track with a slow rythm. Glenn Cornick is again great (but I have mentioned him so much that he too should be credited for this quite rocking / hard sound of this album).
Although none of the tunes will turn into Tull classic it is a very well balanced effort.
IMO "Benefit" will pave the way for lots of Tull albums from ...the eighties. Like "Broadsword", "Crest" and "Rock Island" but I will have the opportunity to discuss these ones a little later). I would highly recommend the remastered version of "Benefit" to anyone willing to enter their catalogue because :
1. It is a very good album
2. It is really representative of several Tull albums (or individual tracks on later albums)
Daniel

One of the finest amalgams between good musicianship and high level of literacy; since it was released in 1970, it was wrapped with progressive overtones, but not because of occasional trends - it's more likely an emphasizing device for wide palette of Ian's ideas. It is true that the album is somewhat inconsistent, but I will stay in it's defence because all the aspects if that inconsistency are:
a) well above the average level of songwriting, b) album works perfectly as a whole, and c) the level of inconsistency is significantly decreased if you don't compare the album with other Ian's conceptual works.
Having said that, I'm defining this album as first yet very successful picture book of a skilled man who will become world-renowned rock pedagogue and methodologist in a years to come.
Are my comparisons too daring? I don't think that's the case, they're simply reflection of Ian's really intelligent work as a whole, and of his work in this particle called "Benefit" whose relevancy is not to be underestimated.
First of all - and that's probably the most important fact, musically-wise - this albums fills the gap between band's first period (of pushing the boundaries of blues) and the second period (progressive, (semi) conceptual works with social themes). It's clearly blues-influenced, but there's no straightforward blues tune on it, progressive elements are more evident in pseudo-baroque riffs ("To Cry You a Song", "Sossity; You're a Woman") than in multipart-compositions ("Son", For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"), and last but not the least, the quality of production increased drastically.
Simply because of that fact this album deserves to be called an essential one, and we didn't scratched the surface yet.
As far as music goes, there's less flute and more piano, clashing the occasional hard-rock bursts and folkish tranquility.
Every track here is telling it's own story, and each one is augmented with excellent music - it's hard to say whether is music the background for the lyrics or vice versa. Whatever it is, it works perfectly. Ian's lyrics are emotional and clever in he same time, and the beauty of the lyrics and the music themselves is not buried under overaccentuated technicality, although this album is of high quality craftsmanship-wise. As any other Tull record.
The album is full of contemplative piano parts, which in correlation with unique Tull trademark - Ian's flute - create a perfect amalgam and pleasant listening experience. The other side of the musical diversity is armoured with barrage fire of hard-rock moments which are not raw or notorious at all; hard-rock presented here is crafted well, reasonably polished, with a spice of furiousness; there are some absolutely astonishing moments where guitar sounds like a snake in spasm lashing both sides of stereo field, an unbeatable trick that surprised even the band members, because apparently it happened in studio by a coincidence.
My point is that this album is monstrously well-balanced, focused, technical and emotional in the same time. It is not the best record that JETHRO TULL ever did simply because the band have half a dozen masterpieces up its sleeve, but as a standalone unit, this is a masterpiece in all possible contexts.
Moris Mateljan

Is it possible to make a classic album without including any classics songs? Why of course it is!
Jethro Tull's "Benefit", their 1970 release, was the third album by these rock n' roll giants. this album is really what got their career going, and for me it is the beginning stages of that epic Jethro Tull sound. Glenn Cornick is tight the whole way through, and Martin Barre's intense, sludgy guitar riffs are the perfect compliments to Ian's beautiful flute sounds.
The show kicks off with "With You There To Help Me", an amazing hard rock stunner that features some of the Tull's best early riffs. One of the highlights of the album, could not have picked a better song to start the vinyl. "Nothing to Say" features an excellent rhythm section, and the highly underrated Clive Bunker provides some great beats to match Cornick's bass. Anderson's voice overpowers most the band however, and it captivates you. The good songs just keep flowing! "Inside" is much slower than the first two, more comparable to the melodic, flute driven Tull that cam before this album. Although it is not a bad song, you as a listener will be expecting the heavy guitar riffs and loud singing instead of the atmospheric tones on Anderson's flute and "love-song voice". "Son" is my favorite A-side track by a good mile! From the high- intensity first seconds of the opening verse until the songs radical psychedelic switch, Martin Barre is on top of his game and the whole song just flies. Anderson is at his lyrical peak on the album, and even the slow half of the song is amazing because of the interesting guitar once again presented. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, and Me" is comparable to "Inside". Once again, not a bad song, but messing with the flow of the album. The slower opening takes away from all of the energy and action that "Son" created before it. Of course the song picks up in the middle and becomes an excellent song, but the flow is already gone and the intensity is gone.
The B-side starts out with "To Cry You A Song", which is another example of pure excellence! The opening music is intense without being overbearing and the singing is amazing. Can't tell if it is distorted or not, but it is heavily psychedelic. The music in the middle is once again, intense but not overbearing with Martin's amazing guitar solo coming into play. Mr. Barre is steadily becoming one of my favorite guitarists. More soloing leads to "A Time For Everything', the shortest song on the album. The guitar matches the flute every step of the way, which makes for quite an interesting concept. The pairing of the guitar and flute really brings out the good sense in the vocals as well. Another perfect song. "Teacher", the most recognizable song off of the album, is surprisingly one of the weaker songs here. Surely the fans could have picked a better song to represent the album, but this is still an excellent song nonetheless. Another heavy and rockin' guitar riff brings the song up, but the lyrics are a tad bit of a letdown compared with the amazing pen productions on the other songs here. Still an amazing song, don't get me wrong. The flute rave-ups are still a nice touch as well. Speaking of flute rave-ups, that is exactly how the next song, "Play In Time" starts. Barre picks up where Anderson leaves off, and then some more heavy vocals come out and this song is on par with the tone of the album still. I really find it hard to say a negative thing about this album! After the rock-hard outro on "Play In Time", the amazingly beautiful "Sossity, You're A Woman" beings. Very laid-back, this is an atmospheric musical piece that brings a nice ending to a perfect album.
Many have said it before, but I will echo the saying that "Benefit" was the arrow that pointed them to "Aqualung", even if I do prefer "Benefit" of the two. This is undoubtedly the early Tull masterpiece, and one of their career's best. Also, this is a highlight for anybody with ears, let alone progressive rock fans. The mixture of folk and heavy, hard rock brings an interesting concept that made a masterpiece.
Chris H.

So Stand Up was a good album, but it had two things against it: first, the sound quality was a little muddy, I'll never understand that. Secondly, the band wasn't always gelling as a unit. I don't know. With Benefit we clear up both those issues. The sound on Benefit is crisp, the nicest album until Passion Play in that sense. The band also plays as a unit pretty consistently. Unfortunately, something else is gone. Diversity.
Yep. All the songs on Benefit tend to follow a pattern: they blatantly mix gentle acoustics with sludgey guitar. It's also very dark within and throughout, the darkest album to date. However, I have nothing wrong with that pattern. In fact, there's almost nothing on the album that pisses me off, which makes for a fairly even listening.
The opening number is "With You There to Help Me," possibly the earliest song to enter my echelon of "just really, really good Tull numbers." It's an acid drenched ditty with spooky voice and flute and fuzzy guitar. And clapping. Listen closely for the laugh effects, and out of tune (purposely...I hope) piano under the main melody. I love the coda: an endless flute/guitar showdown. Yep. This is Tull's psychedelic album.
"Nothing to Say" is a really depressing number with fantastic vocal delivery. Ian really sounds like everyone is out to get him, and he doesn't give a crap. A little lighter is "Alive, Well and Living In," with the main tune being handed back and forth between Ian and Martin, and a nice acoustic bridge. Diehard Tullers often rave that "Son" is the first number to truly incorporate soft and hard parts, but they tend to forget "Back to the Family." Oh well, most diehards aren't thrilled with it anyway. I don't see why. It's the hardest thing on the album, with angry lyrics directed right at Ian's old man. Great to listen to right before listening to "Cheap Day Return," see what a year can do.
As I said, the best number is "With You There to Help Me," but the worst number is a little harder to define. However, "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" is a pretty good candidate. I like the rockin' middle, the "I'm with you boys" part, but the acoustic buildup is just so...BORING.
The second side brings us back with "To Cry You a Song," the most famous and classy riff on the album. And it fades in! Ha! No one was doing that! It's the second of the psychedelic trio (in between "We Used to Know" and "My God"). It's really a great number for Barre, with fuzzy guitar tones layering themselves over and over again in during the instrumental breaks. "A Time For Everything" is a nice little tune, with the main melody once again being traded between flute and guitar. However, it also has a really irritating beep in the middle, which (unless my disc is faulty), kind of spoils it.
"Inside" is the most upbeat thing on the album, an amusing little pop rocker with light 'n catchy flute. "Play in Time" is the weirdest, most experimental of the lot. It's a driving rocker, with little flute parts popping up here and there. Sometimes the backwards chewed tape effect gets on my nerves, but other than that a decent song (I love the lyrics). "Sossity; You're a Woman" is some atmospheric organ and equally atmospheric acoustic guitar. It's a sufficient closer, but on the greatest.
So, as I've said, not the greatest, but good. Dark, but not the darkest. Dry, but not the driest (some have suggested a proto-Minstrel). There is not a single song that doesn't contain something I like, if sometimes you have to dig for it (or endure sound effects). The band sounds pretty good, but I'm also a little disappointed. Ian and Martin are great, and John Evan does pretty good on the 'boards, but my rhythm section (particualry Cornick) isn't nearly as strong as on Stand Up. Poor Glenn. Clever chap, jazzy basslines, but I do prefer Jeffrey.
Benefit is worth your dollars, if only for the two biggest numbers off the album. Both are pretty much classics. Yeah. Damn this is a bad ending to the review, but I can't think of anything better.
The Whistler

After leaving a firm imprint on progressive music history with their exquisite "Stand Up" album, Jethro Tull spent most of the following year touring the states. There they opened for loud rock and roll bands like Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater and even the proto-punk MC5 (imagine trying to play "Bouree" to THAT boisterous crowd!). This certainly affected Ian Anderson's mindset and the result was that "Benefit" has a much harder and slightly darker edge to it with many songs being geared to the rowdier audiences they had so recently faced. In the liner notes for the remastered CD Ian also relates that many of the tunes reflect his cynicism resulting from his disenchantment with the record industry as a whole.
One noticeable difference appears immediately as John Evan's piano is featured on the intro to "With You There to Help Me," a somewhat Gothic-sounding dirge that brightens considerably when they reach the uplifting chorus. There Anderson expresses his longing for a home life when he sings "I'm going back to the ones that I know/with whom I can be what I want to be/just one week for the feeling to go/and with you there to help me/then it probably will." The spirited, frenzied duel between Ian's flute and Martin Barre's slashing guitar lines at the end also belies a major 60s psychedelic influence that will appear often throughout the album. A military drum beat starts the riff-based "Nothing to Say," a wonderful song that contains one of Anderson's best melodies as he further narrates the trials of constant touring and record company demands and false promises. "Every morning/pressure forming/all around my eyes/ceilings crash/the walls collapse/broken by the lies," he laments. The tune features a surprisingly simple arrangement but it's one of their top numbers in my book. Continuing to evolve away from their basic flute/guitar roots, Evan's piano is again prominent in the next song, "Alive and Well and Living In," which plods a bit but doesn't hinder the overall momentum of the proceedings.
"Son" finds them delving into the heavier acid-rock genre to some extent and it gives Ian a chance to make a personal statement about his stifling upbringing as he sneers in his father's condescending voice "Oh, I feel sympathy/be grateful my son for what you get/expression and passion/ten days for watching the sunset" and "'permission to breathe, sir'/don't talk like that, I'm your old man." The cut has an odd little interlude halfway through and an abrupt ending as if someone had slammed a door. Things take an upswing on the following track, "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" that has a folksy acoustic guitar feel on the verse that gives way to an almost southern boogie-like atmosphere on the chorus. The juxtaposition of these different styles is refreshing and the surreal, poetic lyrics are striking. "Watery eyes of the last sighing seconds/blue reflections mute and dim/beckon tearful child of wonder/to repentance of the sin," Anderson intones. Next up is one of the album's true gems, the riff- themed rocker "To Cry You a Song" in which Ian describes a short break from touring with descriptive lines like "closing my dream inside its paper bag/thought I saw angels/but I could have been wrong/search in my case/can't find what they're looking for/waving me through/to cry you a song." Barre provides a cool cosmic guitar lead and when he plays through the organ's Leslie speaker cabinet he puts an indelible stamp on the tune.
The piano reappears to lead them through the rather nondescript "A Time for Everything" but it does offer a glimpse of what the following album will sound like. I always smile when "Inside" begins because I love its captivating, rolling feel and Anderson's sprightly flutisms. Here he cheerfully describes the ecstasy of being back at home with his woman as he warbles happily "I'm sitting on the corner feeling glad/got no money coming in but I can't be sad/that was the best cup of coffee I ever had/and I won't worry about a thing/because we've got it made." It's a great, joyful song. Their trippy side is on display once again in "Play in Time," a barnburner of a tune with a memorable flute/guitar motif and hair-raising studio tricks to boot. Here the corporate suits' constant demands for more product are related when he sings "Got to take in what I can/there is no time to do what must be done." The acoustic guitar is prominent in the scintillating, involved structure of "Sossity, You're a Woman" and when the flute and organ intertwine in the middle the tune achieves sublimity. Anderson's ode to moving on from an older lover is tender and sweet as he croons "all of the tears you're wasting/are for yourself and not for me/it's sad to know that you're aging/sadder still to admit I'm free." The song's fascinating and complex musical arrangement is superb.
The four bonus tracks are not just discarded out-takes but a real treat. Recorded weeks earlier, the first three of these cuts (that obviously didn't make it onto the official UK "Benefit" release) plainly display how the band was downplaying their earlier eclectic influences and going in a more arena-rock direction that would culminate in "Aqualung." The delightfully jazzy groove of "Singing All Day" would have fit perfectly on "Stand Up" and Ian's excellent flute at the end is top notch. "Witch's Promise" meanders a trifle until the Mellotron enters and the song really takes off, morphing into another jazzy-ish ditty. "Just Trying to Be" is presented without drums and features a chiming piano playing in the high registers while an acoustic guitar strums underneath. It's a very short but sweet number that tragically fell to the wayside for decades. And, last but not least, the radio- friendly single that is "Teacher" ends things on a strong note. It's an immensely popular rocker that thoroughly displays all the Jethro Tull charms as Evan's Hammond organ growls underneath and Anderson's breathy flute mannerisms fly over the steady rhythm section provided by bassist Glenn Cornick and drummer Clive Bunker while Martin's fat electric guitar gives the song its necessary muscle. And here Ian replies to the record executives' demands that he should do more hob-nobbing and glad- handing with "Hey man, what's the plan/what was that you said?/sun-tanned, drink in hand/lying there in bed/I try to socialize but I can't seem to find/what I was looking for/got something on my mind." Something more fulfilling than self-promotion, I'm sure.
While not as consistent as the masterpiece album that preceded it, "Benefit" is still an outstanding effort that no fan of prog should be without. This was to be the last record from their unadulterated embryonic stage for Cornick was soon to leave and Evan was to come on board as a full-fledged member, altering their sound forevermore. The cover art satirically portrays them as cutout figures being moved arbitrarily around by their masters like paper dolls but artistically they were coyly learning the ropes and discovering the loopholes that would allow them to succeed in retaining their own identity despite those manipulations.
Rollie Anderson

From out of an ancient cave comes a cackle, a flute, and one of the best rock albums of 1970. While others were making huge strides in modern arrangements, elaborate productions and increasingly grand bombast, this group of battle-hardened travelers was rocking the halls with a more direct and now fully-realized style of heavy Celt-tinged art rock. The album is a successful transition between the breakthrough 'Stand Up' and landmark 'Aqualung', and early hints at the latter can be heard. Ian Anderson's self-harmony steadies 'With You There to Help Me', Martin Barre providing some drama on guitar, more cackling from a mad jester and a whooping flute. Things darken a bit for the brooding folk-metal of 'Nothing to Say', and John Evan's jazzy piano starts 'Alive and Well and Living In', the band's future starting to show with confident riffs and melodic acoustic treatments as the cut develops. More progression on 'For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me' and flat-out meanie 'To Cry You a Song', Tull's medieval metal at its early best. Anderson's unison voice tracks in 'A Time For Everything?', the flute parts now cutting rather than just part of the mix, and folk haunter 'Sossity;You're a Woman' closes a dynamite collection of songs from a band that would soon move well beyond these raw and real days. And though Jethro Tull would grow better with age, like a snapshot of a person in young adulthood this record shows a vibrant and enthusiastic group ready to do much more. Four good bonus tracks from the same period are included on the remaster.
David

For my one hundredth review I thought I would choose something special. I chose Jethro Tull's Benefit my absolute favorite Tull album. Released in 1969 this was a transition album moving Tull from the Blues band they were to the prog band they were about to become. That is very much in evidence in such tracks as With You There to Help Me, For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me and Sossity Your a Woman. There still is the blues band in songs such as To Cry You A Song and Nothing to Say. I like this variety of styles presented here. Classic Tull sounds are present in songs like Inside and Play in Time.
The production can be a bit sparse based on this is a 5 piece without the aid of keyboards. Still the flute fills in the cracks nicely throughout and Martin Barre sounds great on this one. The 2001 remaster adds a lot of clearness to the mix and there are things I can hear now that I wasn't able to on the original release.
The Remaster also includes 4 bonus tracks the best of which is Witches Promise are not really that strong additions to the album proper but not bad for collectors.
This is the first of Tull's golden age of the early 70's.
Brian

Otro gran disco recomendadísimo del blog cabezón, y Jethro Tull (la banda de folk progresivo por excelencia) viven en Cabeza de Moog!
Y gracias Carlos por compartir ésto que es infaltable en nuestro espacio.




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